Meet Beatrice–Volunteer and Advocate at UACC

Posted by on Nov 15, 2018 | Comments Off on Meet Beatrice–Volunteer and Advocate at UACC

Meet Beatrice–Volunteer and Advocate at UACC

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.” – Maya Angelou

As a long-time volunteer with UACC’s urban farm, Beatrice Clark has been “throwing something back” to the Charlottesville community for more than 5 years. Her family relocated to Charlottesville, from Delaware, when she was 6 years old. They lived on Page Street where Beatrice remembers a large garden bursting with lettuce and green beans, corn and carrots, and her favorite, tomatoes – “Because there are so many ways that I can use them.”

Beatrice Clark, a regular volunteer at Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville’s Community Market Days.

Under the guiding hand of her step-father, she sowed seeds, defended the young plants from invading weeds, and harvested delicious vegetables according to the seasons. The ups and downs of life in the garden helped forge the kind of determination she would need to navigate the racially stratified world of Charlottesville in the 1950s.

Growing up, Beatrice saw barriers to personal and professional advancement deliberately sown in the lives of people of color, like weeds in a garden. She recounts, “This was during the time of segregation, not only in the schools but the communities as well. There were very distinct African-American neighborhoods. They were truly neighborhoods. Everyone knew everyone and looked out for one another.

The nurturing world of such a caring community encouraged Beatrice to pursue a career that included a 23-year stint with the United States Army Foreign Science and Technology Center. She spent another 14 years as an Administrative Assistant at Trinity Episcopal Church.

While the ghosts of the past continue to remind her of the work yet undone, one good thing that hasn’t changed is the sense of community that she shares with her fellow volunteers. There’s Shirley and Linda, Patricia, Rosa, and Harriet. Their Friday volunteer sessions are as much about catching up with old friends as they are about helping to feed their community.

Along with the rest of her crew, Beatrice helps out others who can’t make it to the Market Days. “I pick up and deliver vegetables to several of my elderly friends and neighbors who express their sincere thanks and appreciation for my service. Some of them have said, ‘I can hardly wait until Friday to see what goodies I will be receiving.’ ”

And how does Bea like her vegetables? One of her favorite recipes is Italian Zucchini Crescent Pie. Ingredients include sliced zucchini, chopped onions, herbs, eggs, and cheese and it sounds delicious.

For someone who’s thinking about volunteering, Bea’s advice is timeless: “If you enjoy working with people and want to help UACC get fresh vegetables in the hands of people in the various communities throughout the city of Charlottesville, I highly recommend that you volunteer with the UACC.  You will be providing a much-needed service and you will find it to be a very rewarding experience.”